While Davis itself may be flat, it is quite close to some killer areas for backpacking and other outdoor activities. Newcomers to the area should be aware that poison oak is common in areas below 5,000 feet elevation and hikers can easily contract contact dermatitis even when the shrubs are leafless. Also see Camping and Climbing.
Trails and Hiking Areas
Hiking Trails in Yolo County
- Blue Ridge can be accessed only via trailheads at the north end of the ridge.
- Cache Creek Nature Preserve
- Cache Creek Regional Park
- Davis Wetlands - At the site of the Waste Water Treatment facility, the wetlands provide a scenic, if somewhat flat, opportunity to view local wildlife.
- Dog Park Directory - Yolo County
- Fremont Weir State Wildlife Area
- Frog Pond Trail
- Grasslands Regional Park
- Little Blue Peak. Highest point in Yolo County (elevation 3120 ft).
- Pierce Canyon Falls Trail
- Putah Creek Riparian Reserve
- Putah Creek South Fork Preserve
- Sacramento Bypass Wildlife Area
- Vic Fazio Yolo Wildlife Area - Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area
- SummitPost, Yolo County. Trails to the peaks: Fiske, Glascock Mountain, Little Blue Peak, Lowrey.
- YoloHiker - Hiking Trails in Yolo County. Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area, Pierce Canyon Falls Trail, Frog Pond Trail, Blue Ridge Trail, Rayhouse Road, Fiske Creek Trail, Putah Creek Reserve, Fremont Weir, Valley Vista Regional Park Trails.
- Urban hiking in City of Davis: The Greenbelt, Arboretum, Fitness Trails, Davis Bike Loop, Covell Drainage Channel Trail, Wildhorse Agricultural Buffer, Willowbank Ditch, Julie Partansky Pond, West Pond.
- Tuleyome Trails- Offers a comprehensive list of hikes in the Berryessa Snow Mountain Region, including; Lake County, Solano County, Colusa County, Yolo County and Napa County. Here you can find trail descriptions, difficulty level, pictures, maps, and directions.
Within two hours one can be at many excellent backpacking and hiking areas. If you're willing to drive a little more the wilderness opportunities are endless. It's a little impossible to list all of the "local" destinations but here are a couple of ideas. See the Adventures Outside of Davis, Camping, or Climbing page for more places. Dog owners should visit our Dogs page for pet-friendly hikes.
Hiking Trails in Colusa County
- Bear Valley (Colusa County) Bear Valley has one of the most spectacular displays of spring wildflowers in Northern California.
- Cache Creek Ridge Trail
- Cache Creek Wildlife Area
- Colusa Bypass Wildlife Area
- Colusa National Wildlife Refuge
- Colusa-Sacramento River State Recreation Area
- Colusa Weir Recreation Area
- Delevan National Wildlife Refuge
- Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge
- Snow Mountain Wilderness Snow Mountain has the highest point of elevation in Colusa County (7,056 ft).
- Hiking YoloHiker - Trails in Colusa County. Billy's Hill, Brophy Canyon, Cache Creek Ridge Trail, Cowboy Camp, Craig Canyon-Thompson Canyon Trail, High Bridge Trail, Lynch Canyon Trail, Signal/Eagle Rocks Loop on Walker Ridge.
Hiking Trails In Solano County
- Jepson Prairie Reserve
- Lake Solano County Park
- Stebbins Cold Canyon Reserve - Stebbins Canyon is a very popular spot for trail-walking Davisites. It is one of the closest trails to town with significant elevation gain. The area is just of Hwy 128 near the Monticello Dam, below Lake Berryessa, (about 23 miles west of town). There is an easy main trail that runs the floor of the canyon, with gradual slopes up to an the remains of an old stone cabin. Its nice for a casual hike along a seasonal creek and a lunch under woody cover. Hikers seeking more of a thigh workout can ascend to the western ridge for a full loop back to the highway. The climb up can be long with a lengthy series of stairs to the top, and the hike along the ridge trail is rockier and more strenuous, but those who are up for the climb are rewarded with fewer trail-goers and great views of both the canyon and Lake Berryessa. (Watch our for a few hardcore trail runners though). Even burlier hikers can climb the eastern ridge for a real workout. Switchbacks anyone?
- Also check out Solano County Hiking Trails - Vacaville Wiki for an even more comprehensive list of trails in Solano County.
Hiking Trails In Eldorado County
Eldorado County sits between Tahoe and Folsom along Highway 50, and has many hikes and backpacking trips for Davisites willing to drive a little ways out of town. There are hiking areas within the Eldorado County that are just over an hour from Davis, and other areas near tahoe that are 2 or 3 hours away. Still the county offers a vast array treks through beautiful pine forests, to sparkling mountain lakes, or across sprawling desolate alpine zones.
Desolation Wilderness -- Desolation Wilderness is a 64,000 acre Wilderness Area just west of Lake Tahoe. The park is probably Davis's most accessible source for high alpine adventures, (just a mere 2.5 hour drive east up Hwy 50). It is a large park with glacier-carved granite valleys, massive rugged peaks, and dozens of tiny blue alpine lakes. Hikers have many trails to choose from, from day-hikes, to mutiday backpacking treks. There are many opportunities in Desolation for extreme hikes to some of the tallest mountains in the region, as well as plenty of shorter, less grueling jaunts through still amazingly beautiful territory.
- Horsetail Falls - Horsetail falls lies at the far end of towering valley of granite, 1.5 miles in from Hwy 50. The trail to the base of the the falls is the most popular and easiest trail, following the floor of the valley. The boundary into Desolation is about 0.5 miles in from Hwy 50. Hikers can fill a good 4 hours walking the trail out and back, and still enjoy a leisurely lunch at the falls. More adventurous hikers can ascend the scree fields lining the valley walls to the top of the falls with an extra hour or three, (can be a very dicey in many spots, so use care). Those who climb the wall early enough in the day, can hike back further into a even more massive valley of granite, filled with tiny (and freezing cold) lakes and towering giants overhead, including Pramid Peak, Dick's Peak and Mt. Ralson. Many backpackers camp over night at Ropi Lake, about 1.5 miles in from the rim of the falls. Horsetail falls is about 97 miles, (about 2 hours) from Davis. To get there, take I-80 to Hwy 50, to Strawberry. The trailhead is right off Hwy 50 about 1.5 miles beyond Strawberry.
Wright's Lake - While technically outside of the Desolation boundary, Wright's Lake is the starting point for a number of hikes into Desolation Wilderness. The lake itself is good for a leisurely day of summer-time lake lounging, if that's what you're looking for, but a few worthy trails are available for those seeking a hike for a day or more into Desolation.
- Grouse Lake - Grouse Lake is a picturesque sierra lake some 2 miles east of Wright's Lake. The hike up to the Grouse Lake ascends gentle to moderate slopes through pine forest mixed with open expanses of granite, (follow the rock piles). Day hikers looking to push further can climb another mile past Grouse Lake to Smith Lake, a beautiful alpine lake at the bottom of a rocky bowl tucked into the ridge of the Crystal Range. Or you could traverse a mile over the ridge south of Grouse Lake to find Secret Lake, a tiny blue gem of a lake set among a sprawling ramble of scree. Find the trailhead for Grouse Lake at the end of the road on the east side of the Wright's Lake.
- Twin Lakes and Island Lakes - These lakes live just north of Wrights Lake and share the same trail head as Grouse lake, (the Twin Lake Trail veers north about a mile from the trailhead). Twin Lakes are just under 3 miles up a gradual slope and are an easy destination for a leisurely lunch. Island Lake is another mile beyond, tucked in on the the floor of an impressive granite bowl. The hike up to Island lake can be completed in a day and provides great views of the Crystal Range.
Hiking Trails in Other Counties
- Hiking Trails in California Statewide lists of trails, parks and hiking areas organized by county.
- Sacramento County Hiking Trails - Sacramento Wiki. Includes: American River Bike Trail & more.
- Napa County & Lake County Hiking Trails - Napa Wiki. Includes: Long Canyon, Lake Berryessa trails & more.
- Placer County Hiking Trails - Lincoln Wiki.
- Sonoma County Hiking Trails - Sonoma County Wiki Includes: Mount Saint Helena & more.
- Yuba, Sutter, Sierra & Nevada County Hiking Trails - Yuba-Sutter Wiki
- California Hiking Trails Directory National, State & County Parks, Hiking Trails List, Hiking Groups, & Photos.
- Pacific Crest Trail Wiki describes the Pacific Crest Trail, which stretches from Mexico to Canada.
Listed here are some great free resources for hiking and backpacking
- California Hiking Trails Directory
- Camping Tools and Equipment that People Forget to Bring on Their First Trip
- Basics of Wilderness First Aid
- Survival Tips for Camping in the Wilderness
One really doesn't need to buy maps with these available, however, common sense dictates that you should bring a printed copy of the map of your hiking destination with you on the hike.
- Yolo County Trailheads Map, Colusa County Trailheads Map
- Yolo County Map California County Map
- Acme Mapper provides dynamic online road, topographic and satellite maps. It shows coordinates for any point on the map. Enter coordinates or a landmark name and jump to that location on the map.
- Outdoor Adventures has a massive collection of maps, ranging from common topo maps, to guide books to a cool wall-sized pop-up map.
- Mapsurfer - Hosted by our very own UC Davis, this map tool is truly awesome for the hiker.
- TopoZone - Lets you search by location names which is very helpful.
- Shields Library Map Room - Located in the basement is a complete set of California topographic maps to look at and photocopy. You don't even have to put them away once you are done looking at them!
- Google Earth - Satellite imagery of the entire planet.
Libraries & Websites
- Outdoor Adventures has an entire bookshelf devoted to local, regional and national recreation areas.
- Shields Library - sections F859.3, F868 and GV199 contain an amazing array of hiking guides to the Sierra, the coast and beyond
- Davis Branch Library - has a large selection of recent trail guides
- California Hiking Trails Directory
- Kevin Gong's Hiking Page - trip reports of many local backpacking destinations
- Waterfalls West - good hiking directions to local (and not local) waterfalls
- Sierra Nevada Wild - current information and recent news about the 28 designated Wilderness areas in the Sierra Nevada
- HighSierraTopix.com - excellent internet community for everything Sierra Nevada
- Gordie's Ramblings in the High Sierra - contains a good set of links to follow for more information
Places to rent gear
Places to buy gear
- Ken's Bike & Ski
- Outdoor Davis
- Outdoor Adventures has a bi-annual Equipment Swap in October and April. OA sells their used gear, vendors sell sample items, and the general public is allowed to sell or trade their good-quality used equipment and clothing.
- Big 5 Sporting Goods
- REI in Sacramento, Roseville, Folsom or Berkeley
Clubs and Organizations
- Capay Valley Hiking Club (aka Yolo Hiker)
- DOERS — "Devoted Outdoor ExploreRS", sometimes also "Davis Outdoor ExploreRS"
- EEB Club
- Outdoor Adventures
- Sacramento Hiking Group
- Sacramento Hiking Meetup Group
- Sierra Club has many organized outdoor activities.
- Tuleyome, Home Place Adventures, leads a wide variety of free outdoor events including guided hikes and trail restoration projects. See upcoming outings at Tuleyome's meet-up page.
2008-04-13 13:59:14 Can anyone recommend a good backpacking location near Davis (an hour or two away) that has some sort of water nearby to frolic in? —Ash
2009-06-25 01:00:07 Where was the picture at the top of the page taken? —IDoNotExist